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Houston Astros’ First Spring Training Game Takeaways

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Mar 3, 2016; Clearwater, FL, USA; Houston Astros outfielder George Springer (4) takes a swing in the third inning of the spring training game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Bright House Field. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 3, 2016; Clearwater, FL, USA; Houston Astros outfielder George Springer (4) takes a swing in the third inning of the spring training game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Bright House Field. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Spring Schedule Starts for the Houston Astros.

The Houston Astros defeated the Philadelphia Phillies 3-2 in their first Spring Training game of the season today. While none of the members of the Ken Giles trade made an appearance, Astros fans were treated to a host of top prospects including A.J. Reed and Alex Bregman. Here are some rapid reactions to the first live Astros baseball of the 2016 season.

Matt Duffy opened some eyes today. His mammoth home-run was something to behold, and he flashed the patience that brought him so much minor league success. His strikeout came on a 3-2 breaking ball that froze him, but he took Philadelphia’s pitchers into deep counts and drew a single walk. Duffy swatted down two hits on diving stops, and although he didn’t make the plays, he demonstrated his range. His performance was everything scouts wanted to see, and he just needs some refining around the edges.

Tyler White hit the ball hard in all three of his at-bats. Considering his potentially long look at DH, it was exciting to see White get off to a good start. He scored the second Astros unearned run when he scored George Springer from third on a ground ball hit to third. The ball took a weird hop because of the power behind it, causing Taylor Featherston to commit his second throwing error.

The Astros drew five walks and saw many deep pitch counts. These may have come off of some very young Phillies prospects, but it is nonetheless very refreshing for a team that had such a high strikeout rate last year. Nolan Fontana drew a walk after taking a 3-0 fastball with the bases loaded, adding one of two Astros unearned runs. Interestingly enough, when the Astros weren’t being patient, they were very aggressive on the first pitch.

Doug Fister was very intriguing. His pitched two innings, giving up two hits and a walk while striking out four. Back to back Ks after back to back hits in the 1st inning saw Fister hitting his spots well. He wasted no time in-between pitches to keep the young Phillies batters from getting remotely comfortable. It was a refreshing change of pace for Fister, and his Spring Training progression will be an especially engaging storyline.

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Man, George Springer looks good. He smoked both of his doubles and looked like he was in mid-season form at the plate. Please stay healthy.

Bad news: 0-11 with RISP and 12 LOB. A familiar foe. Good news: It is only the first game of Spring Training, so there is no reason to overreact.

Michael Feliz has visibly improved his command, but he still missed some spots. That seemed to be the story of the Astros’ late-inning relievers. All of the young Astros pitchers potentially battling for a spot in the bullpen appears to have a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde showing today. After two wild pitches, James Hoyt rounded out the inning with two strikeouts. Feliz, Danny Reynolds, Brendan McCurry, and Jandel Gustave all worked effortlessly out of the trouble they created for themselves.

Danny Worth was a lovely surprise. He dropped in a single and drew two walks. He’s tied with George Springer for the team lead in on-base percentage. Aren’t Spring Training small sample sizes fun?

Amid a Colin Moran-Alex Bregman-Tony KempA.J. Reed Bizarro infield of the future, Kemp showcased his stellar glove with a beautiful Web Gem-quality diving stop. We’re very excited to see what else Kemp has up his sleeve in 2016.

Next: Should the Houston Astros extend Jose Altuve’s contract?

And, lastly, Max Stassi got to play against his brother Brock Stassi, who came on as a defensive replacement for Ryan Howard.

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